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ISSUES RELATING TO THE FUTURE WORK OF THE COMMISSION

The Chair presented a draft decision (E/CN.17/1993/L.2) to the governments early in the session. This draft was the result of informal consultations conducted in March. The draft addressed such issues as the establishment of informal negotiating groups, the distribution of documents, the high-level segment, intersessional consultations, the participation of international organizations, reporting to the Commission and participation of NGOs.

The issue of pre-sessional consultations was one of the more difficult ones to resolve. Originally, this paragraph stated that the Chair should conduct pre-sessional consultations on issues such as the need for informal negotiating groups and other specific sessional arrangements for the Commission's work. Some countries felt that these consultations should be open to all UN member States and others thought that only members of the Commission should participate. Others did not think that there was a need for consultations. After several attempts at modification, the paragraph was deleted, since many believed the phrase "pre-sessional consultations" could constrain the Bureau.

The discussion on the paragraphs related to the high-level segment focussed on the need to ensure that the segment was an integral part of the CSD. Several countries, including the EC, China, Germany and Pakistan, proposed that the outcome of the high-level segment would be a concise agreed document. However, Australia, Mexico and Austria did not agree. Venezuela did not want the proposed document to lead to prolonged negotiations. The final compromise reads: "The result of the high-level meeting may be a concise document, should the participants deem that appropriate." A number of countries supported a broader range of ministerial participation, to include ministers for environment, development or finance. The final paragraph reads: "The Commission encourages the participation of ministers in its high-level meetings."

There was a lengthy discussion on the paragraphs requesting reports from organizations of the UN system, including international financial institutions and the GEF, as well as international, regional and subregional intergovernmental organizations outside the UN system. Delegates expressed concern about a proliferation of reports, the need to produce reports that were comparable, and that the report would be either too analytical or not analytical enough. Consensus was achieved on the addition of two new paragraphs. One recommends that the reports requested should be prepared on the basis of comparability of information contained. The other paragraph requests the Secretary-General to prepare analytical summaries of reports that the Commission may specifically request from UN agencies, when such reports are highly technical or specialized in nature.

The final decision, E/CN.17/1993/L.2/Rev.1, also says that the Commission will decide at each session on the need for and number of informal negotiating groups as long as the number of groups does not exceed three during each session and no more than two groups be allowed to meet simultaneously. The Commission requested the Secretary- General to take all measures to ensure that the reports are distributed in all official languages not less than six weeks before the Commission's meetings. The Commission should submit its report with agreed consolidated recommendations to ECOSOC and, through it, to the General Assembly. The report of the High-Level Advisory Board, containing its expert advice on issues related to the implementation of Agenda 21, should be submitted to the Commission through the Secretary-General. Finally, the consideration of NGO contributions should be based on CSD procedural arrangements and the Commission may decide on specific arrangements for holding special informal meetings during its sessions in order to have a direct informal dialogue with representatives of NGOs and major groups.

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